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QUICKVIEW: Hands-on with the new HTC One mini Android Smartphone with HTC Sense
Posted by Arne Hess - on Thursday, 18.07.13 - 10:51:41 CET under 08 - Reviews - Viewed 14530x
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Earlier this week I had the pleasure to have some quality-time with HTC's brand new HTC One mini, which was made official today. As you can read here, the One mini is powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (MSM8930) CPU with Adreno 305 GPU; which will be right away released with Android 4.2.2 and HTC Sense 5. While the CPU is only dual-core, compared to the One's quad-core CPU, WWAN connectivity is virtually the same and therefore is the One mini supporting also quadband GSM/GPRS/EDGE at 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS/HSPA+ at 900/1900/2100 MHz as well as triband LTE at 800/1800/2600 MHz. All these bands will work perfect in Europe and Asia but not in North America.

Other connectivity includes Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, WiFi a/b/g/n at 2.4 and 5 GHz as well as MHL, DLNA and screen sharing via HTC Media Link HD and Android 4.2.2's supported Miracast. The sensors include the Android typical gyroscope, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor and for sure an ambient light sensor. Last but not least is the One mini supporting GPS and GLONASS but lacking NFC.

Beside having only half the cores of the original HTC One, the One mini has also only half of the RAM - which means 1 GB instead of 2 GB - and half of the flash memory - which means 16 GB instead of 32 GB storage space. Furthermore, HTC has shrunken the screen size and resolution which resulted in a slightly smaller device. The HTC One mini comes with a 4.3", Super LCD2, Gorilla Glass 3 protected touchscreen which has a 720p HD resolution at 341 PPI.

However, while HTC has to use a slightly different manufacturing method, the One mini is also coming with HTC's typical zero gap aluminum unibody design on the back, which makes the One mini 132 x 63 x 9.2 mm big and 128 grams heavy, including the embedded 1,800 mAh Li-polymer battery.

But the housing is slightly different from the original HTC One design. While the backside looks pretty much the same, including the two times interrupted aluminum shell, the side is glossy polycarbonate, going to the front of the device to hold the front facing aluminum speaker covers as well as the touchscreen. Also the volume keys on the right side is looking slightly different and are two separated buttons instead of a single rocker. Another difference is the power button on the top. It's not acting as an infrared eye anymore because the One mini isn't featuring HTC TV at all - a feature which was simply removed.

However, most noticeable, if held in the hand, is the One mini's aspect ratio since it feels higher but not as wide as the One. Therefore the One mini seems to fit better into the palm. At the end of the day, the One mini comes close to an iPhone 5 aspect ratio.

Other than that, it's hard to identify a One mini on the first sight, since the main camera, including its supporting flash LED, as well as the front-facing camera, are pretty much the same; embedded flat - without any knobs.

And while we are talking about the cameras, the One mini is featuring the same 4 megapixel main camera which also comes with a 1/3' BSI sensor and a pixel size of 2.0 µm. All this is again powered by HTC's dedicated ImageChip 2 and an f/2.0 aperture and 28 mm lens. However, and I'm not sure if this is due to the decreased size or different price, HTC's Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), which was just introduced with the One, is left - unfortunately. Nevertheless, the main camera features exactly the same Smart Flash with five levels of flash which are automatically set by the distance to the photographed subject, as the One does. Also slightly different is the not so ultra-wide-angle front facing camera which features 1.6 megapixel, a BSI Sensor with f/2.2 and HDR capabilities. The main camera allows to record Full HD 1080p videos (even in HDR) or alternatively 720p HD videos with up to 60 fps; while the front facing camera allows to record standard 720p HD videos.

Other than that, the HTC Sense typical imaging features are pretty much the same as for the One. The One mini is also coming with continuous shooting and VideoPic as well as slow motion video recording with variable playback speed. Also onboard are HTC Zoe and HTC Zoe Share and the video highlights can finally created with your own music, something the HTC One with the latest Android 4.2.2 firmware isn't supporting (yet). Last but not least also supported are retouch with object removal, Face Bautification, Always Smile and Sequence Shot.

Since the One mini is sporting the same front facing stereo speakers as the One, HTC has also added it so called "BoomSound" which means the mini comes with the HTC One typical built-in amplifiers and extra large sound chambers as well as a so called "studio-quality sound with Beats Audio", dual microphones and Sense Voice for improved communication in loud environments.

All other preinstalled apps and HTC Sense features are pretty much the same as on the HTC One.

Final Conclusion

All together, the HTC One mini not as mini as the name suggests or as you might have expected or hoped. But going smaller is pretty difficult in terms of the displays. 4.3" is pretty much the limit for HD displays but HTC wanted to give the One mini a HD display, even if it's "only" 720p, which is - nevertheless - good enough for most of us anyway - compared to 1080p. However, in terms of size and weight, the difference is really notable. Something neither the spec-sheet nor photos can really show is the different and really experienced aspect ratio. The One mini feels and looks much more like a phone. I really appreciated the size and weight when I had the chance to play with the One mini. And I like the job HTC did by transferring the original One design to the One mini. Sure, the side looks different but not worse in any kind. In my experience, the changed side design makes the device even more robust if it drops to the floor.

The technical sepcs are pretty much updated One S specs and I must admit that, even if I heavily use my smartphones, the One S never failed in terms of speed or memory usage. Therefore I would definitely say that the One mini is even sufficiant enough for high-end users, even if it doesn't seem to be ther über geek device. Ok, 1 GB more RAM wouldn't have hurt but the better GPU allone makes the device faster than the One S.

Sure, HTC has made the one or the other trade-off if it comes to specs, but the overall package is still featuring the real HTC One highlights - from the excellent HTC UltraPixel camera to HTC BoomSound to all the HTC Sense 5 features and enhancements including HTC Zoe and HTC BlinkFeed. If it now would also sport HTC TV I would immediately "downgrade" to the One mini, without thinking a second about this decision, but I have to admit that HTC really got me with its TV integration.

The HTC One mini will be initially available in silver, the black version will follow a little bit later. HTC said the One mini will go on sale in Europe from early August and the suggested retail price, without any subsidizations, is 449 Euro. Therefore it's reasonable to expect an estimated street price of 399 Euro.

Cheers ~ Arne

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